Why can't I sleep after giving up alcohol?

My Year No Beer (Week 2)

Well well, in what feels like a blink of an eye, here we are with Week 2 of My Year No Beer. The week on the whole has been a good one. No desire for a drink, well apart from last thing on Friday after work, so I popped open a couple of 0% San Miguel’s which went down a treat!

Overall I am a little bit lighter (lost a kilo), a little bit faster (running a kilometre 7 seconds quicker than last week) and feeling a little bit sharper in my mind. Sleep however is proving to be a little trickier to come by!!

If you aren’t familiar with my alcohol free journey check out my introduction video.

Stop Drinking Alcohol = Amazing sleep!

The reality is when you don’t drink, you sleep so much better. Alcohol might put you to sleep but you never get the deep restorative sleep we need to feel recharged and allow our body’s to repair themselves. That’s why you wake up knackered even after you’ve been in bed for 12 hours after a night out!

If like me, after a couple of weeks in to your alcohol free journey you are still not sleeping, stick at it and don’t fret. It is normal and in the next couple of weeks you should find that you’ll be sleeping like a baby.

Did you have a night cap before bed?

If you’ve drunk regularly before bed there is a good chance that your brain has stopped releasing enough sleep hormones since it has become used to having a certain level of alcohol in your blood. It takes a little time to reset, but you should find sleep doesn’t evade you for too much longer.

Clearing up the backlog

Also if you’ve drunk alcohol regularly and  over an extended period of time, there is a good chance that whilst you are sleeping your body (particularly your liver) is taking the time to get cleaning up the backlog of toxins and waste that it has not had the time to do before now as it was always been busy breaking down any booze you’d drunk the that night.

This process can mean that whilst your body is in ‘spring cleaning’ mode your sleep may suffer.

This is temporary, it does get better, I promise!!! Look at the the short term pain for the long term gain.

If you are having trouble sleeping why not do some reading on the subject, or listen to some audio books?

I highly recommend both Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson and Sleep by Nick Litthales if you want to start sleeping like a professional!

Does not drinking alcohol stop you from sleeping better or worse?

Hopefully I’ve answered this question a little bit for you. In the long run you will be sleeping better, however if like me this week, sleep is proving evasive whilst on the start of your alcohol free journey don’t be disheartened. Take this as a good sign, your body is resetting itself and repairing itself.

From the first time around when I gave up alcohol for a year and I was suffering with insomnia in the early days, I learnt some really useful tips, to set myself up for the best chance to get sleep. I’ve shared these as well in case they are of use to somebody else.

Why can't I sleep after giving up alcohol?

Alcohol free sleep tips

Are you asking yourself 'why can't I sleep after giving up alcohol?' Your body is getting used to not having alcohol in your blood. There is a lot going on at present but usually within a month or so you will be sleeping like a baby! Here are some tips that will help you to maximise your shut eye.
  • Stop using screens (including checking email on your phone or watching TV) 60 minutes before bed
  • Use the time before bed to relax and unwind. Try reading, listening to music, playing an instrument, meditation, journaling or a relaxing bath
  • Aromatherapy. Lavender Oil is the top ranking when it comes to help with sleep
  • Drinking warm drink. Examples can be milk (cow's milk, almond milk or malted milk) or a sleep infusion (chamomile, valerian root or decaffeinated green tea.
  • Don't eat a heavy meal close to bedtime
  • Don't exercise a couple of hours before bed
  • Optimise your sleeping environment. Blackout curtains / blinds, good mattress, comfy pillow, no standby lights or electronic devices in your bedroom
  • Get your lovin' on. Having an orgasm releases lots of hormones that will relax and calm you. It can be a full on sedative
If you can stomach it?! Having just given up alcohol, you could try giving up caffeine as well? Or maybe introduce a caffeine curfew. Say, no more caffeine after 2pm.

Pillars of Positivity


  • 7.5 hrs (5 x 90 mins sleep cycles)
  • Light / broken sleep most nights
  • Hard to get out of bed in the morning
  • Feel tired when I wake


  • Ran 24 Km in a week. Up 13 Km from last week.
  • 10 Km run average speed 5:43 / Km. Running 7 seconds per Km faster.
  • Still feel flabby and untoned though


  • 72 Kg. Lost 1 Kg this week.
  • Varied diet but still craving sweet / sugar foods at times.
  • Tendency to fill up at dinner.


  • Reconnected with Mind & Body Gym community. This is where my self development and alcohol free journey blossomed. Great to be back!
  • Catch up with family
  • Lovely evening walk with the Mrs.


  • Reading (20 mins / day)
  • Meditation (10 mins / day)
  • Running x 3
  • DIY / Painting

Clear Thinking

  • Quick to react, easily stressed
  • Still distracted from tasks at times, but better focus than last week.
  • Was able to get in to flow when decorating / painting

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